This is me, saying the same as everybody else.
Just with less facts and more errant thoughts.
I don’t know if it’s obvious yet, but what’s going on in amongst what one might call Oliver’s brain is as follows: we live in an argument-filled world.
And the thing is about it, that I’ve seen anyway, is that there are an awful lot of experts giving air to their grievances. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world seems full of experts right up to the gills. You can’t swing a cat by the tail without one of them running a risk of being scratched across the face. Every time I walk to the park or some other open space, in the hopes of an opportunity of swinging the elbows unencumbered, an expert or three leaps out of a hole in the ground causing no small tripping hazard to the unwary star gazer.
It’s a real danger.
In such a world, where arguments vent forth like geysers in Yellowstone National Park, and where experts inhabit the landscape to the horizon, one never knows what to bring to the conversation. What I’m trying to say is, some days I wake up, all bright and ready to face the morning, with a song on the lips and a thought in the heart a little like yesterday’s bad Italian food, and the first impulse I have upon seeing the dawn is, “What ho, a thought.” And I feel a strong urge to share the thought with the next person I see.
But alas, one might say, heartbreak is soon to follow.
Because no sooner have I walked from the bedroom to the front door, and glanced at a headline or two of the old news rags over the morning coffee, when I have discovered a discouraging truth.
The thought, which began to bubble like a new spring at the back of my head when I awoke, is there, in bold letters, among the crossword and the ad for Jack’s Crab Shack. With a heart growing ever heavier with the knowledge it beats in the chest of a person with an obsolete mind, I read the story.
There, in plain black and white, my thought, as final as reading my own obituary, written by some other hand than mine.
It always happens just so. The thought I have is never a bad one. Quite the reverse. It’s an absolute gem. Why else, I ask the next punter who comes along, would they run it as a featured item, before the funny pages? Why else indeed? I ask you. There is no other reason. The thought is a good one.
And timely? Never a better time could it have been conceived. You could set your sundial by it. It might, perhaps, have come a moment or two late, I shall grant you that, since some other blighter wrapped their greasy mittens around the idea before I could write it down. I shall set that down to this other fellow getting up earlier than I do, seeing as I like a bit of a lie-down on weekends, rather than any lateness on the relevance of the thought. Which perhaps is a lesson in itself, but never mind. We shall leave that aside for now.
Taking all this into consideration, and when it gets down to the nub, and when it comes time to put a scratch or two down on paper, then I invariably come to the same conclusion.
Alas, I conclude, for an echo. The thought is now tired — move on, Childe Roland.
Because what it really feels like is as follows.
Some other person has already said what I wanted to say, so why should I say it again? They’ve said it well, bringing all their expertise to bear, as above mentioned, and had it out. The story has been told. So if I am to write on it, I set myself up to say the same thing. Sometimes using many of the same words as them. There are only so many arrangements of these things to go around, and most of them have been used already.
It’s a vicious state. There are times when it’s all I can do not to hang it up and join a monastery and commit myself to a vow of silence, for all the good all my good ideas seem to do.
Then, the silver lining.
Where some seek to impart knowledge, I shall set my sights on pursuing wisdom. I may fail, but there shall be nobility in the quest.
I’ve still a thought or two to get out before I throw in the white towel and succumb to my spoils being divided among the up-and-coming youth. There are some words left to say behind these eyes. So I will say them.
A fair warning about them: I’m rather convinced that most of the experts, prevailing as new blossoms in spring as they are, can provide the scientific context of knowledge better than I can. Almost always, you will find facts and figures elsewhere. I am a sermonizer on subjects I know, and I choose not to sermonize on subjects like that.
What I’ve got to say is more to the effect of commentaries, really. Interpretations, if you will. Current events exposed to thought experiments and to biased analysis. Show me a cheap Chinese knock-off, and I’ll show you a five minute exposé on the subject of the future as a mass-market imitation of the past. Greece is the goods — and Rome provided the factory production. Things like that.
Somebody else will provide the facts. Somebody else always has, and they show no sign of slowing down about it now.
For my part, I shall embrace my role, which is not to inform, but rather to interpret.
I shall proceed as shepherd among the thoughts and opinions, chivying hither, gesturing thither, providing a sneer or two on that subject or this, and, in general, opining till day’s end.